Shiv Kumar is a Dalit labour rights activist who is named in the same FIR as incarcerated activist Nodeep Kaur, but according to eyewitnesses, Shiv was not at the site where the protest happened. The police denied allegations of ‘mistreatment and torture.’
Along with labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur, now the voices are being raised for the release of her fellow activist Shiv Kumar who was arrested with her on January 12. Activists are claiming that he is not being allowed his lawyer and parents in jail.
New Delhi: On January 30, sitting on a cot, Rajbir heard a knock on the door. He opened the door and saw a familiar face. The man at the door gave him a piece of a newspaper on which something was written by hand. The man told him, “Shiva ko jail mei rakha hai” (Shiva is in jail).
The man was referring to Rajbir’s son Shiv Kumar, who president of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MKS), an organization working for the labour rights of workers.
Shiv Kumar is a Dalit labour rights activist in the Kundli Industrial Area (KIA). His colleagues and family claim that Shiv is missing since January 16 and accused the police of kidnapping him.
“He is partially blind and he was kidnapped without any knowledge to his family,” says Sangeeta, a member of MAS.
Shiv’s note says, “Arrested on 16/1/21. Kept in SIA 7 near KFC building”. CIA stands for Crime Investigation Agency, as per the lawyer.
“We think he tried to say CIA 7”, says Advocate Vikas Attri who is handling Shiv’s case. Vikas is a junior lawyer under Advocate Jitender, who is handling incarcerated activist Nodeep Kaur’s case.
Vikas and MAS think Shiv was held in the CIA offices or quarters near the KFC building at the Singhu Border.
“He was kept in illegal captivity for 8 days. He was beaten very badly and tortured. Are these people not human? He is a disabled Dalit activist. Everyone deserves basic human rights,” Sangeeta told TwoCircles.net.
The police, however, denied the allegations made by the family and MAS. “He was arrested on January 23, and was presented in court the next day where he was sent to remand,” says SI Shamsher Singh of police station Kundli.
“Accused can say anything but we arrested him on January 23 only,” he added.
Shiv has 3 FIRs against him – FIR no 649 dated 28/12/2020 and 25 & 26 dated 12/01/2021. He has been charged under IPC sections 148 (Rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (a member of unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 332 (voluntary hurt to public servant), 384 (extortion), 379-B (theft), 454 (trespassing), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 307 (attempt to murder).
Shiv is named in the same FIR as Nodeep Kaur, but according to eyewitnesses, Shiv was not at the site where the protest happened.
“He was not there at the time of the incident for which he is charged in the FIR. We have video evidence that he was at the Singhu Border protest site”, says Sangeeta.
The family and the members of MAS allege that “Shiv was tortured.” The person who handed the note from Shiv informed the family that, “he was beaten continuously.”
“He was also denied warm clothes and spectacles inside the jail,” the family said.
For Rajbir, the situation is very tense as he is not aware of what is happening in Shiv’s case.
“We don’t have enough money to fight his case in court. MAS is only handling his case,” he says.
MAS claims that his glasses were found in his room, and without which he can’t see anything. When TwoCircles.net asked the police if they are aware of his disability, SI Shansher said, “Bohot dikhta hai use” (He can see well enough). Later, the SI admitted that he (Shiv) can’t see from one eye.
“I am not aware of whether he has been given glasses in the jail or not,” he added.
The family and the lawyers have not been able to meet Shiv till now.
“We went to the meet him in Sonepat District jail along with his father, but the jail authorities said that he is under 15 days quarantine and therefore we can’t meet him,” says Vikas.
Vikas, in order for Rajbir to meet Shiv, took Rajbir to the court on the next hearing and made him sit outside the courtroom where Shiv’s hearing was going on. Vikas hoped that when the hearing ends, Rajbir would be able to see Shiv. However, the police took Shiv out from a different gate.
“We think they are trying to hide something and that’s why they are not letting us meet him,” Vikas says.
Nodeep is general secretary of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS), while Shiv Kumar is its president. While MAS claims they were arrested for raising voice for wages of unpaid workers, police had arrested them for trying to extort money from an industrial unit in Kundli and for attempt to murder after a clash with Sonipat police. Kumar faces these two cases, while Nodeep faces an extra extortion case registered in December 2020. Nodeep has got bail in two cases.
MAS, Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch and other activists have decided to raise voice on Wednesday and make pitch with hashtag trend #freeshivnodeep.
“It has been a month since Shiv Kumar’s arrest and no one has been allowed to meet him, neither lawyer nor his family members. Shiv Kumar is a Dalit worker with a severe vision impairment. He does not even have his glasses with him in prison. His friends and family are all very worried for him,” reads the messages being put up by activists.
“The activists have given call for raising voice on Wednesday both for Shiv and Nodeep. People have been asked to call Sonipat jail authorities and demand to allow Shiv to meet his parents and lawyers. At 4pm, there will be cultural evening at Niftam Chowk, Singhu Border, and from 7-9pm it will be Twitter storm demanding the release of young Dalit activists arrested during farmers’ protests,” said Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch activist Nishant Anand